Michael Phelps Illness He Talks About How He Has Dealt With Anxiety and Depression!
Michael Phelps Illness He Talks About How He Has Dealt With Anxiety and Depression!

Michael Phelps Illness: He Talks About How He Has Dealt With Anxiety and Depression!

Michael Phelps, a famous swimmer, said he had had severe anxiety and depression for most of his life. After success at the 2012 Olympics, he even considered ending his life.

The 23-time Olympic gold medal winner talked about his long battle with crippling depression at a mental health conference in Chicago on Tuesday. He encouraged others to get help as he did.

“After every Olympics, I think I fell into a major state of depression,” said Phelps, 32 years old. Phelps said he hit rock bottom after the 2012 Olympics in London, where he won four gold medals and two silver.

He didn’t eat or sleep for four days while he was in his room. “I didn’t want to be in the sport anymore,” he said. “I didn’t want to be alive.” At a low point in his depression, Phelps told him, “You do contemplate suicide.”

Phelps has been more open about his problems in the past two years. Again, Phelps said that he had had issues with depression and anxiety for the past 17 years.

“We’re supposed to be this big, macho, physically strong human beings, but this is not a weakness,” he said. “We are seeking and reaching for help.”

A tweet from the official account of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing:

In 2004, Phelps won his first gold medal at the Olympic Games in Athens. The 15-year-old boy from Baltimore had his first “depression spell” in the same year.

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Phelps said that as he got older and more depressed, he used drugs and drank too much. In 2008, after Phelps set a record by winning eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, he was caught smoking from a bong.

He has also been caught drinking and driving twice. He said, “It would be just me self-medicating myself, basically daily, to try to fix whatever it was that I was trying to run from.”

Phelps isn’t the first Olympic hero to fight dark forces away from the pool. Ian Thorpe, an Australian who broke 22 world records, wrote in his autobiography in 2012 that he had thought about suicide and planned how and where he would do it.

Like Phelps, Thorpe chose to “self-medicate” with alcohol to control his wild mood swings and shut out the horrible thoughts going through his head.

In an interview with CNN this week, Phelps said that he wants to get rid of the bad reputation that comes with having a mental illness.

“(Mental illness) has a stigma around it, and that’s something we still deal with every day,” said Phelps. “I think people actually finally understand it is real. People are talking about it, and I think this is the only way that it can change.”

Phelps retired after the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. He had won 28 medals, making him the Olympian with the most medals in history.

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